Feb 08 2016 Posted: 12:24 GMT

NUI Galway are being proactive on developing students’ healthy relationships through ‘Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance’ (SHAG) week-long programme which runs from 8-12 February.

Across campus various schools, centres and student groups have joined together to celebrate healthy relationships with a programme that includes drama, workshop training, comedy, writing, debating and community engagement.

The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance will kick off the week with an original devised theatre piece 100 Shades of Grey, in association with #WakingTheFeministsWest. 100 Shades of Grey stages the complexity of sexuality in Ireland today, through a focus on sexual assault and the boundaries of sexual consent in living practice. 100 Shades of Grey take place in the Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway, on Monday 8 and Tuesday, 9 February at 8pm. There is a suggested donation of €3 at the door with all proceeds going to the Galway Rape Crisis Centre.  

100 Shades of Grey began as a theatrical response of the research on sexual consent of Dr Padraig MacNeela and his colleagues in the University’s School of Psychology. The piece has evolved over a two-year process with three key periods of development as a project between NUI Galway’s Dr Charlotte McIvor and a revolving ensemble of student actors and writers which has included first-year to postgraduate students working together. This iteration will be the first complete staging of the piece, and is directed by Dr McIvor with a cast of student performers.

Dr McIvor said: “As a live medium, theatre is a really useful tool for education and debate. Our challenge was to create a compelling piece of theatre that let audiences engage actively with these challenging themes while also still being entertained. This production is not an end but a beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing conversation that we can encourage as widely as possible in Irish society.”

Throughout SHAG week ‘Smart Consent’ workshops will be offered to all students, in response to a recent survey which showed that 87% of students said they would like to get more information on sexual consent. The workshop format provides students with an informal and interactive means to explore positive sexual health and consent in particular. Many adults see consent as a grey area – is consent always verbal, can you give consent if you have been drinking, and so on. The workshop is a safe and supportive environment to explore these issues. Each workshop is gender-specific to encourage open discussion, and is led by trained group leader. Participants are not asked to disclose any personal information, as the content is based on activities drawn from research findings with young Irish adults.

The Smart Consent initiative is led by Dr Padraig MacNeela, with Elaine Byrnes and Siobhan O’Higgins from the School of Psychology. In December 2015, the Irish Research Council and HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme awarded the team a Research for Policy and Society grant to study the impact of the Smart Consent workshop over the next year.

NUI Galway’s Literary and Debating Society will hold a panel discussion on the role of mandatory consent training in higher education, and Flirt FM will feature a series of interviews with community organisations and engaged students on SHAG topics throughout the week.

The School of Psychology will host a workshop on Pornography: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Wednesday, 10 February, in The View, Áras Na Mac Léinn, from 1-2pm. This workshop is designed to enable participants to think critically about the messages portrayed in pornography.

For the full line-up of events see www.nuigalway.ie/safecampus.

-Ends-

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